When we walk or drive by a field of crops being harvested, or simply walk by an apple tree, we may look and marvel upon the living gift that is the harvest….

The month of August has arrived and with it we celebrate the gift of harvest. In Celtic times, this season of Lunasa was an occasion of thanksgiving. The Celtic people burnt huge fires, danced and celebrated many rituals, as they thanked God, for the food and sustenance that nourished them as they faced the darker and more vulnerable months of the year. Harvest time is indeed a time of rich blessing, a time to gather all that has been planted and cared for since the early spring. There can be no harvest without all the necessary tilling, planting, pruning, weeding and nourishing that accompany any fruit that ripens into something good and nourishing.

Perhaps this harvest time is an opportunity for us all, to acknowledge the fruits that we all have in the depth of our being. Fruits that take a lot of time to grow and mature into the beautiful personality and unique qualities that are particular to all our stories. I always thank God, at weddings, for the fruits of parents harvest, as a young couple pledge love and fidelity together for the rest of their lives. Parenting Im sure in many ways could be likened to tending the needs of the vineyard, it is constant, demanding, most challenging and in many ways totally dependent on the unconditional generosity and reservoir of love, that provides for the needs of family life. I am often truly inspired by the time and indeed sacrifices that so many wonderful parents, so often make for there children, in order to allow them to grow and realize the best possible harvest for their family. No fruit or talent can realize it is potential without effort and work.

This week we also celebrate the beginnings of the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Thousands of athletes gather in this global festival of sport and athletics, publically displaying there enormous talent. Every Olympic athlete has prepared thousands of hours in terms of physical training, diet, and assuring a healthy mental and emotional well being. I remember our history teacher, in secondary school, as we prepared for our leaving certificate, always encouraged his students by telling us that, To be a genius requires one per cent inspiration and ninety nine per cent perspiration,

Hard work and genuine effort will always produce a good result and this is true in all our life experience, from our gardens to our souls. St Paul puts this very well when he speaks I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith and now there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness and the gift of everlasting life. Our God invites us to persevere and continue to nurture all the many good gifts and talents that we all possess. Often the fruits of faithfulness and friendship with the lord are the gifts of gentleness and compassion that allow us to encourage, befriend and help our family and friends as we share our pathway of life together.

Perhaps in the coming week, when we walk or drive by a field of crops being harvested, or simply walk by an apple tree, we may look and marvel upon the living gift that is the harvest. May our good God nourish us all with strength and health.